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Updates and Stracciatella

We spent a rainy weekend making some improvements to Lottie + Doof! First of all, and most exciting, I am now twittering. Tweeting? Whatever it is, I am doing it. So you can follow me on Twitter [1], see what I am reading eating and doing. I think it will be a good way to tell you about restaurants I love, books I am reading, and other cool stuff happening online. I’m super excited and fascinated by all of the folks that have preceded me into the land of Twitter, and am especially glad to see familiar faces. There is a feed in the menu to the left, so if you’re afraid of Twitter you can get my latest updates right here on L+D. I think I currently have two people (I love you both) following me, but hope to find lots of you on Twitter.

I’ve also added some FAQ’s to the About page to answer some of the most common questions I get from readers. Hopefully it will help clarify and let you know a little bit more about behind-the-scenes stuff. This is just the beginning, more exciting improvements on the horizon, including new special guests and other features. I’ll keep you all posted as things roll out.

Now, on to the recipe. I made this ice cream for Bryan, but it is really two ice creams in one. The base is a classic vanilla bean that is amazingly rich and creamy with deep vanilla flavor. It is what all vanilla ice creams aspire to be. Although perfect on its own, it could be used to top a slice of pie, in the middle of an ice cream sandwich, or as the star of a milk shake. Vanilla ice cream is so useful to have in the freezer and can enhance pretty much anything you have on hand.

Since it was Bryan’s birthday weekend I decided to use it as an opportunity to try a stracciatella. I have been curious about the process in which melted chocolate is poured onto frozen ice cream where it instantly hardens. The ice cream is then stirred, which breaks up the chocolate into pieces, the Italian version of chocolate chips. It was so fun to make and tastes even better. Bryan says this is the best ice cream he has ever eaten (which is a big deal because he isn’t as into superlatives as I am). I say: it is not bad for something with chocolate in it.

Vanilla Ice Cream (David Lebovitz, of course)

Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean and freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Stracciatella

Remove the vanilla ice cream from the machine and drizzle the chocolate into the frozen ice cream by hand while you layer it into the storage container, breaking up chunks as you stir.